2018 - 2019 Artists in Residence Exhibition
June 8th, 2019 - July 20th, 2019
Featuring work by:
Derick Decario Ladale Whitson
Moorhead’s installations, objects and works on paper are driven by her desire to overlay mutable human emotions onto an array of abstract subjects, scientific facts and diverse materials. By bringing together these disparate ideas and materials, she offers new, often poetic, associations to familiar forms. The installations, objects and works on paper share an insistence on their materiality.
In Long Gone Unheard Song, streamer pompoms made of shimmery stage back drop are driven by a suspended windshield wiper motor. Playful yet melancholy in demeanor, they evoke the form of airborne plants (blossoms, leaves and roots) or trapped birds, but also can be read as spliced magnetic recording tape, frantically trying to play itself in the air. The juxtaposition of the banal and mechanized pace of a car’s windshield wiper motor, which are made specifically not to be noticed, with the ephemeral and celebratory arc of the streamers, provides a metaphoric reflection on the how the artist sees the world as a delicate dance of contradiction.
In her 1961 poem, "Finisterre," Sylvia Plath writes of how the sea mists "bruise the rocks out of existence." In several of the works presented here, overly muscular or robust foundations and apparatus, supports for these ‘slight’ materials, seem to experience a similar gradual erasure. The works are simultaneously peculiar and specific and seem to suggest their own atmosphere, or even weather, psychological or otherwise.
In 2018, Phil Peters began listening to sounds traveling through the crust of the earth using custom built microphones. To facilitate this listening, he then designed and built a one-of-a-kind speaker, capable of playing back the subsonic frequencies of these recordings. The recordings mark locations where the membrane that separates the biologic from the geologic is thinnest, exposing a volatility that is also a dialogue. In listening to the earth, Phil says, we hear deep echos of previously untold stories from the geologic past. The site of listening becomes an oracle, a place to ask questions even as we struggle to divine the answers.
The Yellowstone recordings mark a unique space in the geologic history of the earth. Over the past 17 million years, this volcanic hot spot appears to have drifted across the continent from Idaho to Wyoming, when in fact, it is the continent that has drifted across the volcano. The Yellowstone Caldera masks a nodal cord, a resonant marker of time and place, tied to the earth's core. For this exhibition, Phil has turned recordings from within the caldera into a limited edition run of machine-lathed vinyl records, and constructed an oppositional system of seismically stabilized turntable and architecturally rumbling speakers for the gallery.
Derick Decario Ladale Whitson
Located in Holy Trinity Church lies a rendering of Joseph Grimaldi, who is considered the pioneer of circus clowning in London, England. During the 18thCentury, Grimaldi performed both in black face and white face. Over time, black face has subsided while white face remains as the main representation of clowning today. Black face is perhaps most commonly associated with minstrel shows. Minstrel Shows gained popularity across the US between 1830 – 1910, with these shows becoming mainstream in 1848. The minstrel shows lampooned black individuals with modern stereotypes.
However, these are not the earliest records of black face. Shakespeare’s Othello, first performed at London’s Whitehall palace in 1604, is perhaps the most famous performance of white males performing both gendered roles and in black face. Shakespeare was also known for employing jesters and clowns.
In the 1980s and early 1990s we have a resurgence of the Club Kid Culture scene, which is comprised of wealthy white individuals, and also seen in contemporary platforms like Rupaul’s Drag Race. As a spectator of such platforms and histories, levels of performance and masking are metaphoric representations of the repression of race and gender. The white clown face is black face in disguise. Black face, which originated through clowning, created new stereotypes and perpetuated mistreatment and racist behaviors for years to come.
In 1865, slavery was abolished in Texas. Galveston had an illegal slave trade through the Gulf of Mexico beginning in 1816. By becoming an active member of the community in Texas, and as an outsider responding to the context and history of repression and abuse in America, Sugar (Chapter II) becomes an extension of my natural responses to the people I meet here – both living and non-living. My time in Galveston is a recent endeavor, a temporary exploration of a town that cultivated a haunting.